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11  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Cute Polka Dot Dress Renovation! on: September 08, 2011 10:29:19 AM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/09/shrink-sew.html)

I'll admit it, I wore the original dress--hideous and baggy--quite a few times before doing this dress makeover.  It's completely shapeless so I'd wear it with a belt, but I'd get that fabric bunch in the back that makes it far too obvious that the dress is WAAAAY too big. I knew it was time to shrink it up so here's what I did...

Picture at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/09/shrink-sew.html

1) Took the dress in (see step four of red dress).

2) Chopped off the sleeves and hemmed them.

3) Cut off an inch of length and hemmed.

Again, I'm not a great sewer, I just tried a few shrinking techniques and sewing attempts to learn how to work my new machine. Hope you liked and good luck with your shrink sewing!
12  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Pink Satin Shirt Makeover on: September 08, 2011 10:26:09 AM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/09/shrink-sew.html)

This shirt was originally a little baggy and too restrictive with the collar. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, but I wanted to experiment with collar removal so here we go.

1) Cut off the collar in the front and back.

2) Fold under fabric and sew a hem along your collar.

3) I decided to try the elastic again (red dress step five) and made an elastic ruffled collar for the shirt. I only had enough fabric from the original collar for a ruffle in the front (as the elastic bunches). I made the elastic pieces, made sure the hems were nice and sewed it on!

4) I took in the shirt slightly (as explained in step 4 of red dress) to give it more shape.

13  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Red Ruffle Dress Renovation! on: September 08, 2011 10:23:59 AM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/09/shrink-sew.html)

First of all, I need to put it out there--I am not a seamstress or a sewer. I have great respect for those of you who know how to magically transform bits of fabric into stylish, glam clothing. My typical sewing project results in bag lady, circa 1920. I bought my first ever sewing machine last month. I had to watch a video (multiple times) to figure out how to thread an automatic bobbin threader. Until that point, I wasn't even aware what a "bobbin" was. I also got the tracing wheel confused with the seam ripper and was vigorously "ripping" (in actuality, "tracing") until the husband kindly informed me of my error. So if you're a pro, you'll likely think my attempts are nothing to rave over, but if you're a novice you might realize that, yes, even you can sew (or shrink up some baggy clothes as I'll show you below).

My main goal in purchasing a sewing machine was to learn how to refashion drab clothing into something more stylish. To begin, I went to my local Goodwill where they were having a "$1 day". I found a red dress and a pink shirt, neither of which I loved. The way I see it, if you're working with non-loved clothing you can destroy them without too much heartache. I also had a pink dress at home that was twice my size that I knew needed a good shrinking. So with three potential outfits I knew my new sewing machine and I would have some grand adventures.

(Tutorial pic at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/09/shrink-sew.html)

The Ruffled Red Dress
This dress was long, shapeless, shoulder padded mess with brass buttons traveling from top to bottom. It was something I assumed would never look decent, but I decided to try some different things and see where the dress took me.

1) Cut off a good 10 inches of the length and hemmed up the bottom.

2) Removed the ugly buttons.

3) Hung the dress up and let it sit for a few days. I'm realizing I view sewing like art projects, you allow the canvas (clothing) to inspire you and guide you to an end product. I had to rein myself in from cutting up my excess fabric because I knew I'd need it.

4) Sewed in the sides to give the dress shape. This process is quite easy all it requires is you wearing the dress/shirt while it's inside out and drawing lines with a marker/chalk where you'd like the dress/shirt to fit. I used a disapperaing ink marker which worked like a charm. After your use the marker you sew on the lines you drew, flip the dress/shirt back normally and make sure it fits. (If that made no sense to you watch this video on youtube)

5) I decided I wanted some sort of a ruffle effect on the dress with ruffle strips so I cut up my excess fabric into 2 inch strips. I then sewed elastic along the back of each while holding the elastic firmly so when I released it would bunch up. I also decided to do a ruffle/bunching for the sleeve, so I flipped the dress inside out and sewed elastic where the sleeve is (while holding tightly). I'd suggest trying the elastic out on a non-important piece of fabric to get the feel for how tightly you want to hold the elastic.

6) I let the dress sit some more. I played with various ways of arranging the strips and finally decided on the one you see now.

7) Sew it all together and be proud of your first project you sewed unsupervised!

14  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Holiday Dry-Erase Shadowbox Wall Calendar on: August 26, 2011 10:53:46 AM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/dry-erase-shadowbox-wall-calendar.html)

Of all the things I'm bad at organizing, I'm worst at organizing my time. I can never seem to keep track of the kazillion weekly activities husband and kiddo get sucked into, so I usually end up frantically running out the door, ten minutes late for most events. Our family desperately needed a centralized calendar to display all upcoming events. A BIG calendar. One that I could wipe clean each month. And something that looked chic, matched my decor, and could be changed to coordinate with holidays. All for under $30. A tall order? Yes. But definitely worth the effort.

Here's how to make an awesome Dry-Erase Shadowbox Wall Calendar:

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/dry-erase-shadowbox-wall-calendar.html)


1. Buy or dig up an old poster frame (I found mine in Husband's "college junk" collection). My frame measures 27"x 39" on the outside (it holds a 24"x 36" poster). I'd recommend finding a poster frame with at least a 1.5" thick border, or you'll have a hard time turning it into a shadowbox (nailing rail-thin wood strips to the back would be a pain).

2. Purchase a 1/2" thick wood piece from your local hardware store, and cut it to fit the length and width of your frame. The wood width should match, or be slightly skinnier than your frame width.

3. Nail the wood around the edges of your poster frame with shallow nails (the nails should not poke through your frame on the other side). See Figures A & B below.

4. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the back of your frame--it needs to be wide/long enough to sit on top of the wood you just nailed to the frame. You now have over an inch of space inside your calendar to create 3-dimensional displays.

5. If your original poster frame came with a sub-par floppy piece of clear acrylic or cheap glass, you can purchase a nicer piece at your local hardware store, and have it cut to fit snugly inside the frame. I purchased an extra-thick piece of acrylic for under $20 (we live in a child-proofed house, so glass isn't the best option).

6. Once you have all the components gathered, it's time to paint the newly-nailed wood sides of your frame to match the frame itself. I painted my birchwood strips black using Rustoleum's Painter's Touch in Black Gloss.

7. Finally, use ultra-skinny 1/8" HeadLine black Art Tape (I found mine at Hobby Lobby) to create calendar lines on the INSIDE of your acrylic/glass, so you can wipe the surface clean each month without disturbing the underlying calendar template. See Figure C below.


Decor pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/dry-erase-shadowbox-wall-calendar.html

It's easy to create multiple cardboard backgrounds for your shadowbox calendar. I plan on creating a new background to switch out for each major holiday.

1. For my everyday calendar background, I glued a sheet of poster board (cut to size) to the cardboard, immediately behind the calendar grid's space. This helps your dry-erase writing to show up clearly.

2. Next, I painted the cardboard in Metallic Champagne by Folk Art Acrylic Paint.

3. For sparkle, I glued a layer of my favorite clear glass beads ($2/box from Walmart) to the painted cardboard.

4. I finished up by cutting out, folding and hot-gluing a strip of poster board in the shape of a banner. This provided a great backdrop for writing the month in dry-erase marker on top of the acrylic.

5. For holidays, I plan on using scrapbook paper, colored banners, scrapbook embellishments, etc. to decorate new pieces of cardboard backing. Below is my design plan for October. Super simple, but a bold statement.

Happy calendaring, Sisteroos!
15  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / DIY Hipster Skinny Tie on: August 26, 2011 10:48:32 AM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/weight-loss-for-ties.html)

Skinny ties are in all of the stores right now, but I didnt feel like spending $60 for something with less material than its same-priced, heavier friend, the "normal tie". So I thought itd be fun to buy a cheap goodwill tie ($3) and try out a new weight loss program called Snip and Sew*. Join me as we get this tie into skinny shape.

*("Snip and Sew" should not to be employed on anything but clothing.)

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/weight-loss-for-ties.html)

Steps to skinny your tie:

1) Using a seam ripper, remove the seam on the back of your tie.

2) Open up your tie and see whats inside (if you do not have an insert in your tie, you can either make one or just fold your tie over without the guide).

3) Choose the size of your insert (without an insert, fold over the tie until its the size youd like).

4) Cut the insert to size.

5) Iron your tie to make a new, crisp edge.

6) Cut off excess fabric.

7) Sew the tie together in the back.

Cool Show off your weight loss champion!

Hope you enjoyed the skinnying adventures of Snip and Sew! Ive got some other skinnying ideas coming up in a little while, so get ready!
16  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / DIY Dr. Seuss-Themed Playroom/Kids Room on: August 26, 2011 10:41:58 AM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/dr-seuss-playroom.html)

Oh, the THINKS you can THINK! Have you ever dreamed of having a bedroom/playroom painted with wild and colorful characters? I have had this dream since I was a young girl. I just moved into a beautiful home with a dedicated playroom, so my fantasy finally became a realistic project. Books are the best way to get inspiration for children's rooms and I have been a Seuss-lover my whole life. Seriously, who doesn't love Seuss?!

I'm not going to lie, this project was a pink-tuffed-who-BEAST. Since my husband was dying to mount his new projector (never to be removed again) in our new home theater, I was in a time-crunch (meaning, get it done asap). I worked while the kids were sleeping--a 2-3 hour nap during the day and 7pm-12/1am. Painting 6-10 hours a day for a week and a half was very stressful and I would not recommend doing it this fast to anyone.

Tutorial pictures at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/dr-seuss-playroom.html

I know all of you don't have access to a projector, but you might be able to snag the office projector for a few nights, or perhaps rent one locally. For pictures as well-known as Seuss, I wouldn't recommend free-hand for most people.

Free-hand or project your background, if any. Project your images and trace onto the wall. Try to keep the projector straight-on with the wall so your image is not distorted. Keep in mind your whole room plan and size your images accordingly.
Color in the lines. It's like a giant coloring book (that makes you ache and convulse after a few hours...only 68 hours to go!).

To organize the toys (pictures at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/dr-seuss-playroom.html

--Martha Stewart cubbies from Home Depot.

--Dress-up clothes wardrobe from IKEA.

--Toy drawers from IKEA.

Thanks for joining me in my world of Seuss. Best of luck with your painting projects!
17  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Necktie Flower Headband on: August 15, 2011 11:00:34 AM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/necktie-flower-headband.html)

When I first started dating Husband, he owned a total of four ties, which I really should count as three, because one of them was emblazoned with Snoopy. I love a man in a crisp, silk tie, so this was simply unacceptable. Without going into the gory shopping details, Husband now has ties. A lot of ties. And I have the job of weeding through those ties so I can justify buying him more. Enter the necktie headband. With a few snips and a little needlework, I transformed three of Husband's old silk ties into a darling, fashionable headband. Read on to find out how...

The tie headband is not entirely my idea because I first saw the tie flower idea on craftster. But I did think the flowers would look a lot better in monochromatic patterns, so I devised a simple way to make multiple petals from the same tie. I also thought that a couple of the cute flowers would look fabulous on a necktie-fabric headband. ...But headbands are only the beginning. You can also use necktie flowers on necklaces, purses, lapels--anywhere that needs a little burst of color. I affixed a few flowers on an old pearl necklace with this effect:

Picture at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/necktie-flower-headband.html

Fun, huh? To make your OWN necktie flower headband:

Tutuorial picture at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/necktie-flower-headband.html

1. Find two or three unwearable silk ties. (One of these ties came from Husband's original collection. Can you guess which one?)

2. Snip off a 3 inch piece from the skinny end of the tie. Continue to snip off 3 inch sections from the narrow end of this tie until you have 6 pieces.

3. Sew the unpointed ends into a tapered point using a simple overcast stitch.

4. Sew the petals together into a flower shape.

5. Cover a glass vase bead (or a button, or anything round shaped) with fabric from another tie. Glue the fabric covered stone/button into the center of your flower.

6. Measure the circumference of your head (mine is ginormous). Cut a piece of skinny-end tie 2-3 inches longer than your head circumference. Fit this piece to your head so it fits snugly. Sew the ends in place. Affix finished flowers to your headband with a simple stitch.
18  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / DELICIOUS sweet pea guacamole on: August 09, 2011 12:48:36 PM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/sweet-pea-guacamole.html)

I'll admit it. I'm a guilt eater. And when it comes to cheesecake, cheese enchiladas, or anything cheese-related, I am just adrift on the sea of Overindulgence and Zero Moderation, until I get picked up by the U.S.S. Guilt Trip and redirect my course back to Healthy Land. Last week I had a birthday, and OHHHHHH, the cheese products I consumed! It would fill a steam tanker two times over. So this week I'm bound for healthier shores. Join me, won't you?

I LOVE guacamole with a deep and abiding passion, especially when it tops something covered in cheese. But I've overdrawn my cheese budget for the next 12 decades, so I wanted to make a healthier, cheese-free version of this delicious snack. By substituting sweet peas for half of my avocados, I cut the fat and calories in half. The peas also added a sweet and fresh flavor to the guacamole--perfect for a guilt free snack!

To make your OWN sweet pea guacamole:

Tutorial picture at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/sweet-pea-guacamole.html


■1 bag frozen peas (I used Trader Joe's. Oh, how I love that store. Don't get me started on the Candy Cane Joe Joes or this post will get unhealthy reeeeeally fast.)
■1 small or 1/2 large ripe avocado
■1/2 c. onion
■1/3 c. cilantro
■1/3 c. salsa
■dash of lemon or lime juice (I used lemon)

■some healthy, (cheese-free) blue corn tortilla chips

1. Thaw and cook frozen peas; drain and rinse thoroughly and toss into blender (don't pulse yet).
2. Finely chop onion and rinse thoroughly under running water (this reduces any acrid, acidic onion-y taste that sometimes occurs when you mix vegetables). Toss into blender. Roughly chop avocado and stick in blender as well. Blenderize/pulse until roughly mixed.
3. Remove stems from cilantro and chop finely. Add to blender.
4. Pour salsa into blender (also Trader Joe's).
5. Give a good lemon/lime squeeze into blender. Blenderize for about 1 minute.
6. Pour into serving bowl and eat with baked chips, crackers, or carrots. YUM!

19  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Homemade healthy chocolate almond granola on: August 09, 2011 12:46:24 PM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/french-puffs-chocolate-granola.html)

This chocolatey, healthy treat is sure to be a hit--I make it for kid snacks and bag up as fun treats or party table decor.  Enjoy!


■3 cups rolled oats
■1 cup shredded coconut
■1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
■ cup pure maple syrup (real maple syrup is important for this recipe)
■ cup extra-virgin olive oil
■ cup packed light-brown sugar
■1 teaspoon salt
■ teaspoon ground nutmeg
■ teaspoon ground cinnamon
■ cup or more of chocolate chips
■Other optional ingredient ideas: sesame seeds, raisins, craisins, white chocolate chips.

Tutorial picture at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/french-puffs-chocolate-granola.html

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Mix together all ingredients except chocolate and dried fruit.
3. Place parchment paper over a rimmed baking sheet (so nothing spills). Spread granola evenly over the parchment paper.
4. Bake at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes. Stir/flip the granola every 10 minutes for even baking.
5. Wait for granola to completely cool (you can refrigerate it for faster cooling) before adding chocolate chips or dried fruits.
6. Granola can be stored in an air-tight container outside of the fridge for several weeks. Serve in a munchie bowl, as a topping for ice cream or breakfast cereal, or tie-up in clear bags with ribbons as a gift.

20  COOKING / Dessert / DIY Cinnamon Sugar French Puffs! on: August 09, 2011 12:44:04 PM

(Tutorial pics at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/french-puffs-chocolate-granola.html)

When I make a treat, it is in all actuality 100% NOT healthy. I know some of you like to put apple sauce in recipes in exchange for butter, delete this and that ingredient, maybe even replace chocolate chips with raisins (this is a crime to all woman-kind that must be stopped)...none of that for me. These two treats are much healthier than store-bought options as I'll explain later in the post, but I don't hold back on real ingredients to make them (which means they taste fab!). As my Mom taught me long ago, satisfy your cravings within reason; I do, and I'm happier and over-all healthier for it.

The following recipes are indeed homemade snacks, with snack meaningYou can fit one serving size into your wide-open mouth (though it may take some extra chewing and please don't choke). Compare this with a full serving of dessert: I, for one, cannot put a large piece of cake in my mouth at one time, thus, it is not a snack, but a dessert/meal/I eat less dinner so I can eat more dessert.

Now for the Wowzah! What are these heavenly balls of sugar-coated cake goodness, you ask? Read on...

Tutorial picture at: http://www.sisteroo.com/2011/08/french-puffs-chocolate-granola.html

If you like donut holes and churros, you will LOVE these French Pastry Puffs. They are as easy to make as a batch of muffins and are so delicious you'll have to have at least 3 to start (but don't worry, the mini size is the best). There is nothing fried about these puppies, so before you grab that over-cooked, under-sugared churro on your way out of Sams Club or Costco, consider making these for your family. They are a perfect addition to a breakfast or brunch and they taste even better cold from the fridge.

My French Breakfast Puffs recipe comes from a great blogger/chef: The Pioneer Woman. Visit her at thepioneerwoman.com. She has an excellent hearty food cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, which I love.

French Breakfast Puffs


■3 cups Flour
■3 teaspoons Baking Powder
■1 teaspoon Salt
■ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
■1 cup Sugar
■2/3 cups Shortening (Crisco)
■2 Eggs
■1 cup Milk
Coating (Actress tried & modified)

■3 cups Sugar
■6 teaspoons Cinnamon
■2 sticks Butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease your muffin pans or use paper muffin cups for easy clean-up. Please consider doing all of these puffs in a mini muffin panthey taste so much better small and look waay cuter.
2. In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a different bowl, cream together 1 cup sugar and shortening. Then add eggs and mix again.
4. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
5. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden (minis will cook faster).
6. In a bowl, melt 2 sticks butter. In a separate bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Dip hot baked muffins in butter coating thoroughly (if you used paper muffin cups be sure to remove these first because you will want the whole puff coated), then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture. I find it easiest to put two or three minis in my cinnamon sugar bowl and roll them around with a spoon or gently move the bowl in a circle motion to toss them with their coating.

Yield: 1 batch=60-70 minis, or 12-16 regular cupcake-sized.
*If you're going to try to get creative and make a powdered sugar coating substitute, let me stop you now and tell you that it is gross and doesn't work (at least not with butter as a sticking agent). Sprinkles sadly don't work either, though if you used an icing glaze rather than butter, it may work. Let me know if you find sprinkle success. Wink

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